Teleworking: Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Teleworking

Given the lock-down period we have been in since the beginning of 2020, many companies have introduced teleworking also knows as telecommuting, either voluntarily or on a mandatory basis.

But many companies have already opted for this way of working for their employees before the health crisis. Indeed, the telework system itself allows employees to have greater autonomy and facilitate the organization of their daily tasks. This independence would have positive effects on their apprehension of work, and therefore on the quality of the missions carried out.

Telecommuting offers many benefits to both the employee and the employer. However, since nothing is perfect, there are also disadvantages.

Here are the teleworking pros and cons from the employer’s point of view:

Advantages

  • Continuity of operations.

When one or more employees perform their duties remotely, the business continues as usual. In lockdown such as we are currently experiencing, many businesses are able to continue having an open business. In addition, the introduction of telecommuting would result in fewer sick leaves.

  • Lower costs

Working from home reduces employee travel expenses and decreases spendings on office supplies, drinks and other snacks, and variable costs like water and electricity.

Depending on the number of employees working from home, it also helps to reduce the office space required and rental or depreciation costs.

  • Improved productivity

Telework is a guarantee of flexibility and a better balance of personal and professional life for employees. It also shows that their employers trust them. The productivity rate is optimized as employees work from home. So they’re not distracted by their colleagues and disruptive factors (distractions, chatter, interruptions…) are eliminated.

As a result, telecommuters feel more valued and motivated, increasing their commitment to the company and their productivity.

The downsides:

  1. Limited contact

Even if phone or Skype points can be set up, physical contact is completely absent; this can lead to a lack of team cohesion and company culture.

  • Harder control over employees

Although project management tools are available, employers do not have the same control over their employees when they work from home. Telecommuting therefore requires a strong relationship of trust. Without a check badge and physical presence, it is much more difficult for the employer to check the regularity and presence of each employee in his or her work.

Also, as we know, communicating by telephone is not the best follow-up that employers can do to see if they are working or if they are having problems with their tasks. Especially when there is no team spirit, communication becomes increasingly rare.

From an employee’s perspective:

The benefits of teleworking

  • Saving Time

Working from home, you won’t experience endless traffic jams, overdue buses, subways or trains. So by not commuting from home to work or from work, you do not lose anytime and this gained time can be well used.

  •  Saving money

No longer commuting to work, it also means that you no longer have to pay for gas or transportation tickets if you were taking public transportation.

By no longer eating out with your coworkers, you can also save on your meals. If you have children and you pick them up at lunch and after school, you can also save on the cost of lunch and day care.

  • Greater flexibility and autonomy

As long as the work is done on time and the objectives are met, you can work at the time that is most convenient for you. If your employer agrees, you can work from dawn until late at night and even shift your lunch break. 

  • A pleasant working environment

By choosing teleworking, you choose the environment that best suits you to carry out your professional missions. Music, temperature or lighting of the room and even your work place… it is up to you to choose and not to your hierarchy. Choosing your working environment as you wish and reducing transportation stress makes can make you happier and more productive.

Disadvantages

  1. Motivation

At home, with many distractions (chores, TV, video games, friends…), it is not easy to get to work and stay motivated. Without a superior next door to control everything, it can be difficult for some employees to comply with the disciplines. During the first few days, this may not be a problem, but after a while, the rigor can diminish considerably. Setting up and monitoring a strict schedule is strongly recommended to avoid losing productivity.

Therefore, working from home implies a certain rigor, organization and above all to remain focused on its professional objective.

  • Concentration

Especially when your children and/or spouse are at home, you may find it difficult to concentrate. They may not always realize when you should not be disturbed and therefore you may be faced with a lot of solicitations from them at any time during your work day.

  • The isolation

Working alone from home without seeing co-workers is an aspect of teleworking that is difficult for some people to endure, and can lead to loneliness or even depression.

Because working at home limits human contact, you should not hesitate to keep in touch by email, phone or videoconference with your colleagues and your hierarchy and to go on walks at the end of the day to reduce the stress and relax.

There are many benefits of telecommuting, but also its drawbacks. It goes without saying that any problem must be detected and that a solution must be found very soon in order to avoid any impact on your well-being or to the health of your company. In all cases, both sides (employer and employee) will have to be flexible in spirit and understanding, and study teleworking pros and cons in order to put all chances on their side.